Although most would admit the Raptors are a team primed for success after acquiring Kawhi Leonard, most would also tell you that he’s probably not going to be around for very long to enjoy it.
As has been the case since early last season, Leonard and his camp have had their sights set on Los Angeles. Whether that’ll be with the Lakers or with the Clippers is anyone’s guess but, apparently, Kawhi has already been trying to figure that out himself, in a report by Bruce Arthur on the Back To Back podcast.
“One thing I was told [Tuesday] night is that Kawhi Leonard had already been planning out his free agency for next year. And he’s already been in contact with other star players in the league, saying, ‘Hey, where might you want to play with me? What are we looking at?’ And it wasn’t just L.A. he was talking about. Brooklyn was maybe somewhere; they’re going to have a ton of cap space. So Kawhi has already been thinking ahead to pairing up and trying to play at the highest level. If you can give him a team that can play at the highest level, if the Raptors can build a true contender, not an Eastern contender, an NBA championship contender, that plus an extra $50 million in Bird Rights, it’s the best argument they can make.”
While communication doesn’t seem to fit Kawhi’s style, it’s not entirely ridiculous to assume he’s in deep planning regarding his next move.
The Raptors still have a chance to retain him, of course. But if he and a guy like Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving or Klay Thompson can find themselves joining forces in New York or L.A. next summer, it would be hard for any star to turn that down, let alone one that isn’t thrilled about his current situation in the first place.